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Exploring the Unmet Needs of Irish Cancer Patients from Underserved Communities - EuCan

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Background on project

Collaborating with colleagues from the School of Medicine at Trinity College Dublin, The Trinity St James’s Cancer Institute, The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) , and Queen’s University in Canada the aim of this study is to generate evidence relating to the barriers to and enablers of timely access to cancer care for underserved communities such as people over the age of 65 and those with physical and intellectual disabilities.

By 2040 it is projected that 28 million cancer cases will be diagnosed annually worldwide, an increase from 18 million cases annually in 2020. Cancer is now the leading cause of death in Ireland. Socially excluded and underserved communities face additional access challenges that result in greater inequities across the cancer care continuum. For some specific groups which include people with intellectual and physical disabilities and those over 65, research documenting the barriers and potential enablers to increase timely access is lacking; a greater understanding of these issues is necessary and this study – funded by the Irish Cancer Society - as planned here will help identify new solutions.

To address this issue, we will employ a mixed methods approach using nationally representative longitudinal data to explore cancer diagnosis and associations with vulnerability factors that lead to late-stage diagnoses. We will engage with professionals providing cancer services and directly interact with members of these underserved communities to explore issues surrounding cancer diagnosis. People from underserved communities will be at the forefront of this research, and we will explore the barriers and enablers they experience, the worries they have, and other human costs that are not frequently highlighted. This study will identify actionable measures that can be implemented to enhance access to cancer diagnosis for underserved communities.

The objectives of this project are to:

    • Explore cancer diagnosis and cancer mortality in underserved communities

    • Explore the association between sociodemographic and social vulnerability factors and cancer diagnosis in underserved communities

    • Explore cancer service provision for underserved communities

    • Explore the experiences of underserved communities who are living with or beyond cancer


Meet the Research Team

Dr Martin McMahon, Assistant Professor in Intellectual Disability Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin

Dr Louise Lynch, Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Trinity Centre for Ageing and Intellectual Disability (TCAID), Trinity College Dublin

Ms Shauna Walsh, Research Assistant, Trinity Centre for Ageing and Intellectual Disability (TCAID), Trinity College Dublin

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This project is funded by the Irish Cancer Society